"Ammonite" is a period piece romance that unfolds in a pretty straightforward and familiar manner.

And while it may be something its audience as seen before in some form it has one distinct advantage over its predecessors - the teaming of two of the best actresses working today in Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.

Winslet and Ronan do not disappoint, bringing the passion and intensity needed to make this a solid piece of filmmaking.

In "Ammonite" Winslet plays real life fossil hunter Mary Anning, who as the film begins has settled into to an isolated life with her mother (Gemma Jones) on the southern England coastline.

Mary is approached by a wealthy young man with a unique proposal - watch over his wife Charlotte (Ronan) who has been battling depression for a few weeks.

Mary reluctantly agrees to the arrangement and at first it seems like she will regret her decision. But as the women get to know each other - and the barriers of social clash come crashing down - they develop an intense relationship that will change both forever.

Writer/director Francis Lee has crafted a film that doesn't stray too far from its genre playbook, with a story where the audience clearly knows the path these people will take long before the characters. As an actor turned filmmaker Lee understands that his film's strength lies in his cast - particular his two leads - and he allows these talented women to do most of the heavy lifted.

They are certainly up to the challenge, developing a believable chemistry that makes this material work even as it threatens to veer into melodrama territory. Winslet brings a quiet intensity that gives the film its emotional core, while Ronan is asked to portray a character on a journey of discovery - finding her own voice as the film progresses. 

Winslet and Ronan are so good that they make the familiar feel fresh and new - giving "Ammonite" the spark it needs to satisfy audiences.

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